Alright – I know this is a weird analogy, but have you ever used the restroom designated for the other sex? At a coffee shop that I frequent, the table I normally sit at is near the restrooms. There are two of them, one for Men and the other for Women. During the morning rush, a small line inevitably begins to form, and ladies it’s not always for the Womens restroom. It’s interesting to watch people as they realize that the “other” restroom is open, while they wait in line to use “theirs”. Quite often, someone will break rank and go into the restroom designated for the opposite sex. You know, a guy goes into the Womens restroom because it is open. It’s quite funny when a women then comes up and waits her turn, and then to watch her expression when a man comes out of the Women’s restroom (or vice versa!).
So, do you think this is acceptable? There is no right answer of course, but people react differently to something as simple as this. Some think, what the heck, why wait in line when the other is open. Others think, well… that is the “other” bathroom. I have been at sporting events on a couple of occasions, when the line for the Women’s restroom is quite long, and then a woman, usually young, decides to take matters into her own hands and enters the Men’s restroom – much to the surprise of everyone in there.
Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s humorous and secondly, it begs the question of what is morally right and how different people perceive rules and social norms.
As a leader, take some time to help others navigate the social norms of your organization.
All the best!
All the time!